Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 – Leigh Men’s 1s 1
Whitchurch returned to winning ways this week with a well-earned victory over the league-leaders Leigh 1s, who hadn’t lost a game all season. Leigh showed their skills from the start of the game, with some great individual work and ball control and Whitchurch knew they had a game on their hands from the off.
Paul “Sturge” Leigh was again the bedrock from which the Reds were able to build – excellent diving saves, and constant communication gave Danny Foulkes, Sam Conway, James Partington and Alex Fry the time and information they needed to be able to control the ball at the back. In front of them, Scott Lawrenson, Joel Leese, Jack Barnes, Sam Conway and Joe Coburn in the second half, took control of the middle of the pitch, running well for each other as well as controlling the tempo of the game. Up front, Luke Beddow, Tom Forster and Ben Elson moved around nicely, drawing Leigh players away from the channels for the Reds to attack through.
The first half was a well-balanced affair, with Whitchurch never able to take a break from the constant pressure from Leigh, but in an improvement from recent weeks, the marking was solid and the movement and cover between players who had tracked away from their positions was impressive, so there were never any gaps in the Reds’ defence. Leigh would attack down their left wing, showing great stick skills and speed, but each time they were shepherded by a Whitchurch player, and if they did get past, another player was there to apply yet more pressure, all the way down the side-line before forcing the Leigh player to do something – which often would end in a loose pass and a turnover which Whitchurch were immediately turning into their next attack. Those attacks down the Reds’ right wing were becoming effective, despite some excellent defending and tackling by the experienced Leigh back line, and resulted in Barnes pinging the ball in from the right corner of the pitch across the dee, where Beddow was waiting to pounce with a deft glancing shot to put the ball in the goal and give Whitchurch the lead.
Leigh’s response was skilful and quick, but when they could get their final pass onto a stick, Sturge was on form, as was Ruscoe who put in some excellent last-ditch sliding tackles. Leigh were able to win some penalty corners, but weren’t successful with any of them, as some excellent running-out and tackling, and composure on the ball from Fry and Foulkes meant that the Reds were able to clear and build again.
1-0 at half time reflected the closeness of the game, but that score line wasn’t long-lived as a poor clearance out from a Reds’ sixteen went straight to the Leigh forwards, who ran it straight back in, and Sturge was only able to make a partial save and the ball rolled into the goal. Whitchurch reset, and showed the grit they’ve found this season and didn’t let their heads drop, and built again. Ruscoe was able to tear down the right and win a penalty corner, and although the injection wasn’t trapped cleanly, it allowed Coburn to get it and fire it in for Barnes to bury it into the net in impressive style.
There was a period of frustration for both sides which ended with some green cards being shown to both teams as they each fought hard for the win, but that fire and passion which was driving both squads on meant a tense and competitive second half where Leigh could easily have picked up a goal or two if Whitchurch’s concentration had been anything less than spot-on. Marking remained tight, movement off the ball was good, and Whitchurch were able to open up the pitch and make plenty of time for themselves to pick their passes and find their runs. Some good ball control through the Leigh 23 metre area ended with Elson crossing the ball to Leese for a contender for goal-of-the-season, with Leese showing great composure waiting for the keeper to commit himself before launching the ball into the net. Elson himself was very unlucky not to get a goal of his own, with a lovely tap on a quick pass in just looping over the crossbar.
By the end of the game, Whitchurch had taken control of the play and were able to defend well and attack at pace, and showed some of their best hockey of the season. 3-1 at the final whistle gave them the three points, and they should return to the top of the league of goal difference, overtaking Leigh to do so. They are away for an early start at Golborne next week, in a game that they’d hope to repeat the levels they reached this week to maintain their place at the top of the table.
Whitchurch Ladies 3s 4 Macclesfield ladies 4s 0
The first win of the season for Whitchurch Ladies 3rds
Whitchurch were the strongest side during the game with Lisa Sullivan covering most of the pitch.
The game started with Whitchurch driving hard in the oppositions D and kept up constant pressure on the opposition with several goal mouth scrambles. Whitchurch did not allow the opposition much possession keeping them pinned back. A short penalty was awarded but the goal disallowed as Lisa lifted the ball in the D.
Lucy Hearn, Eleanor Beecher, Freya Gresty, Jessica Hunt and Megan Brunyard kept the ball moving in the middle and getting the ball to Sue Read in the D who was unlucky not to score during the game.
Captain Wendy Cooper sent a strong injection to Lisa who put Whitchurch ahead scoring from a short corner. By half time Whitchurch had scored two further goals putting them in command of the game. Lisa scoring one of them and Lucy her first goal for Whitchurch Ladies.
The second half, Whitchurch defence of Alice Page, Emma Clarke, Mel Reid, Wendy and Jan Teggin had to work harder but Whitchurch were still the stronger side with Whitchurch scoring they fourth and final goal of the game and Lisa’s hattrick.
As Whitchurch mature defence tired towards the end of the second half, Macclesfield came more into the game and came close to scoring on several occasions, but the defence held firm giving Whitchurch a 4 – 0 outcome.
Mel Reid was voted Players Player.
Next week the ladies 3’s travel away to play the other Macclesfield team in the league, Macclesfield 3’s
Wilmslow ladies 3s 2 Whitchurch ladies 1s 6
Despite the early start to this week’s game, with a 10:30 pushback in Wilmslow leaving Whitchurch’s team sleepy eyed, they started the game full of energy. Within minutes they had taken the upper-hand, and some strong attacks were made down the left side of the pitch from Holly Gilbert and Izzy Huxley. These attacks continued, and before long, Cath Gresty managed to score the first goal for Whitchurch, with a beautiful strike on goal.
However, Wilmslow fought back, and shortly after they conceded, levelling the score, at 1-1. This did not discourage Whitchurch, who came back twice as strongly, and after some incredible breakthroughs from Mollie Bell at left half, they won a short corner, which was converted to another goal by Molly Fry.
Again Wilmslow came back though, and despite some wonderful saves made by Holly Edwards, they won a short corner, and managed to scrape a goal from it. Whitchurch’s spirit did not falter, and they continued to battle. Alice
Parton made countless runs down the right of the pitch and transferred the ball up to Molly Fry, who took it into the dee and placed it into the goal, once more putting Whitchurch ahead to 3-2, when the half-time whistle sounded.
After an inspiring talk from Captain Cath, they set out again, determined to keep their advantage over Wilmslow. Chloe Lloyd made countless tackles, continuously squashing their attacks, and, assisted by Hayleigh Busby, shifted the play up the field. Before long, a shot was played to the back post, which Izzy Huxley hit from mid-air into the goal. This goal scoring continued, with Caitlin Edwards
crossing the ball into the dee, which Ellie Pearson easily placed into the bottom corner of the goal, furthering this goal difference.
Ellie Pearson scored a final goal, leaving a very comfortable 6-2 win for Whitchurch.
Alderley Edge ladies 7s 1 Whitchurch ladies 2s 2
Whitchurch ladies 2s travelled to Macclesfield to play Alderley edge 7s on Saturday
Whitchurch needed to play hard with only 11 players
From the start there was good passing from both teams. Megan Nicholson made some crucial saves to keep Whitchurch in the game as Alderley edges attacks were coming thick and fast.
A break meant Alderley edge got the first goal, but Whitchurch weren’t giving up,
Alderley edge had numerous short corners which were well defended by Whitchurch.
Whitchurch used the widths of the pitch with Chloe Lloyd driving the ball wide from the back and up to Jas Williams in centre half, who pivoted the ball from the centre and distributed it out to Tracey Tolhurst and Louise Whitley on the left of the pitch.
Alderley Edge continued to fight strong with all players having to run towards to ball to gain possession for their team.
Lydia Jones produced strong tackles in defence to keep Whitchurch in the game. As Whitchurch began to tire it was up to Emma Stubbs and Hermione Ball to stop Alderley edges attacking runs.
As Alderley edge had 11 outfield and no keeper, Whitchurch knew they had to push hard to get the ball up the pitch in order to score. Bella Morris and Phoebe Jones worked well as a team passing to each other to drive the ball down the line, the ball was then passed to Williams who out skilled the defence and slotted the ball into the goal.
Once Whitchurch had gained back their energy during the half time talk, they were ready to fight for the win.
Amelie started as centre forward and to Alderley Edge’s surprise, drove the ball up the pitch. Tolhurst and Jones followed to support the attack, with many runs made, the Alderley edge defence continued to pick up the bouncy balls.
Whitchurch did not give up, with Williams continuing to channel the ball out of the centre this allowed Whitchurch to gain possession and Bella Morris drove the ball down the line, which was neatly crossed to Amelie Morris who netted the win.
Whitchurch ladies 2s were overjoyed to have won, and to be part of the winning weekend.